They have toured with some of the biggest names and delivered some Top 40 singles of their own, yet Brett and Brad Warren (aka the Warren Brothers) simply can't seem to grab their piece of the country music shoo-fly pie. The singing sibs play their sitch for laughs on CMT's Barely Famous: The Warren Brothers, which kicks off its second season (tonight at 8pm/ET) with a visit to a Dukes of Hazzard festival, where they challenged no less than Bo himself, John Schneider (Smallville) to a drag race.
TVGuide.com: I have a press release here that suggests you have set a world record by being dropped by the same record label twice — only to be re-signed both times?
Brett: We were signed in '98, then dropped; signed in 2000, then dropped, and signed again in '05 to do this greatest-hits record [the just-released Barely Famous Hits].
Brad: We were a little ahead of our time. A little green, a little immature. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Is country harder to break into than, say, rock?
Brad: You know what, it's exactly the same in some ways and it's completely different in some ways. In rock and roll, once you hit 25 you're a little over the hill, so you kinda got to [make it big] earlier. But country artists, the real artists, their careers tend to be longer. I know a lot of guys in rock bands who were doing great and they're working construction now.
TVGuide.com: In the Barely Famous season premiere, you blow off a recording session to attend the annual DukesFest in Bristol, Tenn. Can we talk about the toupee on the guy who sold you your ersatz "General Lee"?
Brad: Oh, man, we said all these really great things, like, "If we don't get this car we're gonna wig out." They just didn't put them in the show. But yeah, it was horrible.
Brett: He was really nice, but there was something bizarre going on there. [Hums "Dueling Banjos"] You know?
TVGuide.com: Your bass player, whom you made dress up as Boss Hogg, seems to be a good sport.
Brad: We always push Marty to do things. He bitches and moans about it for a few minutes and we're like, "Marty, what else are you gonna do? Get in the Boss Hogg outfit!"
Brett: We couldn't afford a bass player and a road manager, so we made him road-manage. He started doing it seven years ago, and now he's really good at it.
TVGuide.com: John Schneider played along nicely with you at the race.
Brett: He wasn't playing along.
Brad: He was dead serious about being called Bo during the festival; he ran and jumped into the car; he made sure that the General Lee was faster than the car we had because he didn't want the General Lee to lose in front of the fans.
Brett: He talked in the third person a bit. It was a little creepy!
TVGuide.com: What other excursions have you taped for this season?
Brett: We worked at a Dairy Queen with Keith Urban. When we were on tour with Brooks & Dunn, we bought some miniature donkeys.
Brad: We took our kids camping, which was hilarious. We are totally not campers.
Brett: We're rednecks, but we're kinda like rednecks with a tour bus.
TVGuide.com: One could argue that it's because you play hooky from songwriting sessions that you're barely famous. Discuss.
Brad: It's not that we're lazy, because we're not. But we'll opt for a little break and a good time before we sit down. The music is supposed to be an expression, and when we're beating a dead horse, we get up and leave.
TVGuide.com: Aside from enjoying some good ol' B.S.-ing, what did you set out to do with Barely Famous?
Brad: It's really showing the middle ground of blue-collar celebrity. We live a funny life, and that is what we base the show on.
Brett: Think about it: You're traveling on the road in a million-dollar bus, playing with Tim McGraw to sold-out audiences, and yet we can walk through the crowd and people don't recognize us. And they'll take their picture with you anyway!
Brad: I was standing in front of the bus at a Wal-Mart and someone goes, "Are you famous?!" I'm like, "Apparently not! Or you wouldn't be asking, right? We take our music seriously but the other side of this is we just like to call bulls--- on the whole industry. We like to show people how funny it is.
TVGuide.com: Besides, if your music gets too good, you'll need to change the name of your show.
Brad: Ohhh, let's not make any mistake: The music is great. It's just not for everyone.
Brett: Some people would tell you that our music is better than that of somebody who's really huge. It's a matter of marketing and opinion and timing.
TVGuide.com: So you do the music because you love it and you do the reality show...
Brad: ... to make fun of everybody else.